(Photo by Flickr user WOCinTech Chat, used under a Creative Commons license)
Janice Omadeke is smart and driven and ambitious, so right out of college she knew she needed to find mentors in order to propel her career forward. The only problem: this was easier said than done.
Even as an outgoing, active person Omadeke admits she made a lot of mistakes. She wanted nothing more than to find guidance from an older, more experienced woman in her own line of work (graphic design), but ended up settling for TED Talks and Marie Claire career advice columns.
But Omadeke doesn’t think it needs to be this way. It’s 2016, after all.
So about a year ago she started The Mentor Method — a mentor matching service for millennial career women. The Mentor Method believes that a good mentor-mentee relationship is not only built on industry or experience, but also on personality. So all Mentor Method mentors and mentees take a patent-pending personality profile assessment, and are matched on the basis of that algorithmic compatibility.
The company also seeks to lend some structure to what can be a confusing, unclear relationship. Thus the program The Mentor Method provides is just four months long, and comes with a “toolkit” to help mentees leverage the experience as fully as possible.
It works like this: Mentees sign up and take the personality assessment, then begin the program with a small cohort. The company’s first official cohort begins in September. Once the program actually commences, mentees will receive their mentor matches. It’s up to the mentees to make the first move, but The Mentor Method’s toolkit provides email templates and other tips for getting started. The Method also provides suggestions for how to use the four months — meet with your mentor(s) at least once a month and set specific, defined goals for the time, for example.
A four-month stint with The Mentor Method will run you $199 for access to five well-matched mentors, or $299 for unlimited access to mentors, ranked according to the match.
It’s so important to Omadeke that she provide the most high-quality experience possible for all involved. This means every member of the mentor and mentee teams for the September cohort has been personally interviewed by either Omadeke or her marketing and business strategy lead Khris Lobo Jore.
The mentees, Omadeke told Technical.ly, tend to be driven young women looking for guidance from female mentors who won’t beat around the bush or bullshit them simply for the sake of flattery.
The mentors, on the other hand, are leaders in their fields — the current roster includes women from D.C.-based tech companies like Framebridge and Social Tables as well as Capital One. MakeOffices CMO and DCFemTech/DC Tech Meetup leader Shana Glenzer also recently joined as a mentor.
For the moment, The Mentor Method focuses on building mentoring relationships within the tech industry in D.C. While mentees can be based anywhere, all mentors signed up with the service are based in the D.C. area. But ultimately the plans don’t begin and end here. Omadeke said once she has the model down, there’s definitely interest in expanding into other industries and cities — lack of career mentorship is certainly not a problem limited to the ladies of #dctech.
By Omadeke’s own account, interest from both potential mentors and mentees has been incredible and humbling — The Mentor Method was even selected as a national semifinalist in Tech.co’s Startup of the Year competition. Who doesn’t need a little mentoring every now and then?
Of course, facilitating relationship building through tech is tricky. But Omadeke is so passionate about the company and so passionate about connecting today’s young female techies to resources she never quite had and her passion is infectious. Here’s to more women sharing more lessons on career success.